Don’t underestimate the power and versatility of the humble resistance band. It’s compact enough to take your WOD anywhere, at any time, making it the perfect travelling companion. Plus, when used correctly, resistance bands can target all muscle groups and are a great tool for muscle activation and warm-ups and to mix up your workout. Here are the five best resistance band exercises to incorporate into your training, regardless of your fitness level.
The 5 Best Resistance Band Exercises
1. Seated Rows
Burn, back, burn! Do this exercise properly and you will discover back muscles you didn’t know you have. It’s great for strengthening your lats in the pursuit of pull-ups. Using a small to medium resistance band, loop it around the rig or a secured pole so that the band is chest-height when seated.
Take the band in both hands and shoulder-width apart, stretching your arms straight in front of you. Move back until you are seated with a slight tension on the band.
Keeping upright, squeeze your shoulder blades together, maintaining straight arms, and then release. This is one repetition. Aim for sets of 10 to 15. If you have trouble doing more than a few, drop to a lower resistance band and build up.
2. Banded Push-Ups
Want to take your push-up to the next level? If you can push out rep after rep of the classic military-style push-up, then this is for you. Hold a plank position, draping your resistance band across your back. Loop your thumbs through each end, placing your hands on the ground in your starting push-up position.
Lower down, chest to floor as you would with a regular push-up, and push straight up until your arms are fully extended and lower back down. Start with 5 to 10 reps and build to more. Play around with variations by moving your legs onto a box or bench.
3. Glute Bridges
Not only for building your booty, glute bridges also help work your core, adductors, quads, and hamstrings, giving you more bang for your buck. Lie on your back with the band in the front of your quads. Wrap it around your legs and loop one end around each heel.
Squeeze your glutes and core to drive your hips off the ground into a bridge, ensuring that your shoulders stay planted. Hold for at least 10 seconds before lowering, and repeat several times.
To advance the movement, lift one leg off in line with the knee that is still on the ground, ensuring that you do both sides for equal repetitions. Add this exercise at the start of glute-heavy workouts for activation or use it as a movement in a workout.
4. Banded Pull-Aparts
Although it may look easy, it’ll cause serious activation of your shoulder muscles. Using a relatively light resistance band, extend your arms directly in front of you, ensuring that your shoulders are back and down. Hold the band in both hands slightly wider than shoulder width, similar to the width of your overhead squat position.
Begin the exercise by pulling the band apart so that your hands are laterally out to your sides. The band should finish across your chest. Keeping your elbows straight, with control, return to the starting position. This is one repetition. Start with 10 repetitions for activation and build up to more or incorporate it into existing routines. As a bonus, this exercise works wonders on your posture, too. It’s perfect for desk junkies.
5. Banded Hollow Holds or Rocks
This is an excellent movement for perfecting your hollow position, building longer static holds, or activating your core in warm-ups. Using a light resistance band, place it around your feet, keeping them together. Lie on your back and pull the band over your head using both bands. Lift your body into a hollow position — legs raised with feet dorsiflexed and shoulder blades off the ground, ensuring that your lower back stays on the ground and your core is activated.
Maintain a hold, building up to longer sets, ideally for 60 to 90 seconds, or begin hollow rocks. Try these out, and before you know it, you will have the perfect hollow position.
Which one of these resistance band exercises will you try first? Let us know in the comments section below.